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Access to Justice Inquiry

Have you been involved in a business dispute?

We’re seeking your feedback through an online survey to gain a better understanding of your experience with a business-related dispute and how you handled the situation.

For instance, if your invoices weren’t paid on time, or even at all. What steps did you take to resolve the situation? Research shows that Australian-owned businesses experience unpaid invoices 74% of the time.

Have you found an unfair term in a contract? What steps did you take to try and fix it?

Your response can be completely anonymous and it will contribute to our ongoing Access to Justice Inquiry.

The survey can be accessed at and is open until 30 June 2018.


The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has launched an inquiry into access to justice for small business.

It’s recognised that a power imbalance exists in small business dealings with big business and governments.

This can deter small business operators from pursing legal options through the courts because of the cost, time and resources involved.

The first phase of the inquiry will examine:

  • The nature and incidence of small business disputes in Australia, identifying patterns and trends;
  • The level of awareness of options available to small businesses, particularly alternative dispute resolution;
  • Actions taken by small businesses when faced with a dispute;
  • Reasons for decisions made throughout the dispute resolution process, and
  • Developments and trends in similar jurisdictions overseas.

Public comment will be invited on the paper.

Following completion of the survey, a discussion paper will be released to summarise the research and proposed policy options.

Download a copy of the Terms of Reference here.

See the media announcement